Temperament Variation in Sensitivity to Parenting: Predicting Changes in Depression and Anxiety

  • Cara J. KiffEmail author
  • Liliana J. Lengua
  • Nicole R. Bush


Temperament was examined as a moderator of maternal parenting behaviors, including warmth, negativity, autonomy granting, and guidance. Observations of parenting and questionnaire measures of temperament and adjustment were obtained from a community sample (N = 214; ages 8–12). Trajectories of depression and anxiety were assessed across 3 years. The pattern of parenting as a predictor of internalizing symptoms depended on temperament. Maternal negativity predicted increases in depression for children low in fear. Effortful control moderated sensitivity to maternal negativity, autonomy granting, and guidance. Children low in effortful control reported more symptoms in the presence of negative or poor-fitting parenting. The results support differential responding, but also suggest that temperament may render children vulnerable for the development of problems regardless of parenting.


Temperament Parenting Child depression Child anxiety 



Support for this research was provided by NIMH Grant #R29MH57703 awarded to Liliana Lengua and NIMH Grant #F31MH086171 awarded to Cara Kiff. The authors thank Kevin King and Robert McMahon for their valuable feedback on this manuscript and the families who participated in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cara J. Kiff
    • 1
    Email author
  • Liliana J. Lengua
    • 1
  • Nicole R. Bush
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Center for Health and CommunityUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA

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